INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Attorney General's Office and Federal Trade Commission both issued warnings Tuesday about fake websites that claim to be part of the Equifax breach settlement.
Scammers are setting up imposter websites — misspelling “breach” as “breech” in one URL, for example, and misspelling “settlement” in other web addresses.
“Anyone seeking to file claims at the new settlement website must absolutely make certain they are on the correct site,” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said. “Verify that you have received the proper website address from a trusted source such as the FTC. If you are typing the URL manually, be careful to enter the website address correctly.”
If you click on one of these fake websites, the scammers may trick you into revealing personal information such as your credit card number.
You can now apply to receive up to $20,000 in cash as a result of Equifax’s global data breach.
Just go to https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/ and click on “File a Claim.” This is the legitimate website.
The Federal Trade Commission says you will never have to pay to file a claim for these benefits, and anyone who calls and tries to get you to file a claim is almost certainly a scammer.
If you’re not sure whether you qualify for money or credit monitoring, just click on “Find Out If Your Information Was Impacted.”
According to the website, you may be eligible to receive free credit monitoring or up to $125 if you already have credit monitoring.
“You can receive free, three-bureau credit monitoring at all three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion),” read the website. “Experian will provide this service for at least 4 years. You can also enroll in free, single-bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax credit file, provided by Equifax, for up to 6 years after the Experian service ends.”
You can also recoup money if you spent time trying to recover from fraud caused by the data breach, or if you spent time trying to avoid identity theft because of the incident.
For example, if you placed credit freezes or alerts on your accounts, purchased credit monitoring services, you can be compensated $25 per hour for up to 20 hours.
If you claim 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took in response to the data breach and the time each action took.
If you claim more than 10 hours total, you must describe the actions you took in response to the data breach and include supporting documents showing fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information, according to the website.
You may also be eligible for the following cash payments up to $20,000 for:
- the time you spent remedying fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information caused by the data breach, or purchasing credit monitoring or freezing credit reports, up to 20 total hours at $25 per hour.
- out-of-pocket losses resulting from the data breach.
- up to 25% of the cost of Equifax credit or identity monitoring products you paid for in the year before the data breach announcement.
As a result of a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, 48 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, Equifax will pay a total of at least $575 million, but denies wrongdoing.
Consumers who believe they are the victims of scam attempts should report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-800-382-5516 or going online at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/ and clicking the “File a Complaint” box at the bottom of the page.